Our trip to Italy was to attend the grand inauguration of the Zonin family's new vineyard Masseria Altemura* in Puglia. The trip which took us to three Zonin vineyards was filled with awe and wonder. I was particularly intrigued by the intent and skill full sommeliers at the many events.
In Italy sommeliers are trained and certified by the Associazione Italiana Sommelier (AIS). They must pass rigorous standards and approach their vocation with great style.
We watched them at work and snapped a few photos. Capturing them in life.
Waiting for the event to begin.
It seams that neither age nor sex is a barrier. One must simply pass what is often 5 months of training including 11 weeks of theory and practice, and 10 weeks of internship.
Three perfect pours.
A large group is demanding.
AIS is a non-profit organization. It is recognized by the Italian Ministry and is accredited internationally. Its mission is to educate and strengthen the role of the sommelier and nurture wine culture. The association acts with cultural, educational and informative character in order to increase the cultural awareness of Italian wines.
Patience is required.
And a ready smile.
* I'm sure you are curious, as was I, of the meaning of Masseria Altemura. Well here you go. Masseria, literally translates as "colonial." In Puglia the term is used to designate a fortified farm house or country house on a country estate. These must have been homes of the rich land owners of the past. Now many of them are tourist destinations.
Altemura, when split means- Alte, high; mura, wall, and such was the case on this beautiful estate.
Then there is the idea that The term “masseria” derives from the archaic Latin "massa" (yeast, dough), which was in turn based on the Greek "mâza" (a mass of kneaded flour, or barley bread). After various semantic mutations, in traditional Puglian terminology it has come to signify a rural structure which involves the cultivation of fields and the raising of animals."You just never know in Italia.
And a view of the cantina (winery).
With the lovely Silvana Zonin.